From the Blog

A turn of the screw

Fettling a bike is an on-going proposition and this has nowhere been more evident than in sorting out Rhonnda’s suspension. As you know, I achieved a major result with my local bike shop removing the rear shock, sending it away to have it rebuilt and refitting it. It was obvious immediately afterwards that the shock had barely been working, if at all. Much of the harshness in the suspension disappeared and I was able to complete the weekend ride to the MotoStars event at Toowoomba without the discomfort that would have been the case before. Indeed, there was no way I was going to TAKE the bike if the suspension had remained as it was.

As in previous cases I did notice, however, that the suspension did seem to work best when there was some weight on and that, when I got home and started riding without the top box and luggage the bike still felt a bit harsh. Now my mechanic told me that the rear shock had been set on the “middle” setting and that seemed just fine to me. I haven’t really ridden much since then due to illness and family duties but last night, before I rode into town for coffee, I noted again that the preload on the front forks did seem to be different to what I had been used to with my other VFR’s. On all of them (and, as it turns out, on my brother’s 2001 model) the preload had been set so that you could see three rings on the markers, as above. Along with all the fiddling that I had done over the last year I had reasoned that softening the suspension up by reducing the preload might help. Thus when I looked I could see that there were 6 rings on show on the adjuster.

Now it seems to me that adjusting the preload so that the the spring was tighter would have exactly the opposite effect t that which I was seeking but, remembering that all my other bikes had three rings above the collar, I grabbed a screwdriver and turned the screw down until there were three rings showing.

I’ve never claimed to be an expert and suspension and suspension settings is one black art about which I confess to know very little but I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. Voila, the last part of the puzzle just fell into place. The difference was astounding. Call it luck, call it what you will but I think I am now in the position where the suspension is suspending as it was intended to be. Now, for a nice, long ride.

PS: I thought that the date stamp on the brake hose was interesting. The Compliance Plate says 12/98!